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Case Study - Herefordshire Council – Chief Executive

In October 2012 Veredus was retained by Herefordshire Council, a unitary authority, to conduct an executive search and selection campaign to recruit a new Chief Executive.

This was not a typical local authority Chief Executive post. The outgoing Chief Executive Chris Bull, had been the country’s first joint CEO of a Unitary Council and NHS Trust, and had won Herefordshire praise for its pioneering approach to partnership working, which saw the creation of a business support services joint venture company, Hoople, in conjunction with NHS Herefordshire. He would be a hard act to follow in a high profile and challenging role, at a time when the Council was also embarking on an ambitious programme of service review, during a period of economic austerity and huge pressure on the public sector. Additionally Hereford had been awarded Enterprise Zone status in 2011 and had plans for major housing, business and retail growth in the City and surrounding areas through its regeneration strategy

Herefordshire was looking for a highly strategic, business-focussed and  politically astute Chief Executive with a real drive to lead locality-based initiatives focussed on improving outcomes for local people in a rural community.  He or she would be expected to work closely with the political leadership of Herefordshire, and continue to lead and support innovation and organisational transformation throughout the organisation. 

We conducted a major executive search campaign backed up by focused online advertising. Having worked previously with Herefordshire we had an in-depth understanding of the Council and its strategy, and knew the impact the successful candidate needed to make as Chief Executive. This meant that we had the information and insight to talk credibly about the position and present it as an attractive opportunity to a targeted and senior audience. The remuneration for the role was up to £145,000. 

We secured thirty applications (seven search candidates and twenty-three advert), nine of which were progressed to a long list screening interview. These nine (six of whom were search candidates) were then reduced to a short list of five of three male and two female candidates. The final five candidates, (three of whom were search candidates), were then presented to the selection panel. The client was extremely pleased with the quality and diversity of the field generated, and an appointment was made of Alistair Neill, the Chief Executive of Southampton City Council, whose early commercial career was spent with Unilever and BP. 

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